Kids for Cash documentary: a Juvenile Law scandal

For Juvenile law practitioners like myself, this is an absolute nightmare. The “kids for cash” scandal unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks in Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were accused of accepting money from Robert Mericle, builder of two private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh adjudications on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the number of residents in the centers. Thankfully this scandal was made public, but similar situations have been reported in other parts of the country and have unfortunately gotten little to no media attention. Check out the documentary “Kids for Cash” on Netflix, a fascinating look at a unique issue in the American Juvenile Law system.

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